Tuesday, May 05, 2015

State of the Apocalypse, Sicko de Mayo Edition

Sickness will surely take the mind
Where minds can’t usually go
Come on the Amazing Journey
And learn all you should know.

                        —The Who, Tommy

I’d love to declare April the Month of the Sickness by way of dismissing both and getting on with my life, but my cough and curious bouts of gotta-lie-down-NOW fatigue have carried over into the third day of May. 

This photo was taken on Friday.Not only are these aspens leafed
out a full two weeks ahead of schedule, I don’t remember these trees
being this lush. The wet snows of weeks ago helped tremendously.
At least I survived working with my professional photographer buddy on Saturday; I had been dreading this simple half-day affair taking payments from soccer moms for a month. I came home and all but died for five hours. My wife said she had to come up and check to see I was breathing. 

I forced myself outside for a Sunday afternoon walk. An abbreviated version of my usual route felt like a major accomplishment. Afterwards, I lay down and all but died for three hours.

This minor bit of body horror started during the first full week of last month, and for at least one day I was bedridden. The main indicator of this bug is the malaise. You’re weak as a newborn. The spells pass, but when they’re on, you’ve got to get off your feet. NOW. 

Then comes the cough. Very upper respiratory, nothing deep, but enough to make you see stars trying to cough that tiny, tickly bit of yuck up from the edge of your windpipe. It’ll build if you can stand the tickle long enough. Sometimes that’s all you can do.

What, like I’m going to take pictures of myself while sick?
Or run stock photos of sick people? I’d rather consider
how darn pretty it was the other day. I’m over winter already.
Then the bug moved into my intestinal tract. I found myself feeling nauseous. Not urgently, gonna-puke-any-minute nauseous, but enough to put me off my feed. There were other...explosive consequences, of which I will not speak.

Then I got lucky. It moved back into my lungs. Whatever the hell this thing is. 

For a couple of days I thought I was getting better. Then the cycle resumed. I’m working a combination of the symptoms now. It’s like this thing is probing my immune system, looking for a way to take me down.

Everything blooming at once in this curiously premature Colorado summer (we really don’t do “spring” here) can’t be helping. Aside from allergies, a lot of my illness is no doubt due to stress related to the book I’m trying to finish, while sweating major bullets over my planned move from Colorado to South Carolina. How I’m going to get four cats across 1,750 miles without killing them is one consideration. Driving two vehicles for eight hours across Kansas with Colorado plates without getting stopped and searched for marry-joo-wanna every so many miles is another.

Hell, my stomach just groaned aloud writing that last sentence. Oh, and once we finally make it, cats and all, we have to find a place to live. We’ll have a place to stay, but what we’re going to do with four cats in the meantime? No, we can’t board them all for a month. Not unless I win the lottery. 

For a queasy moment I considered having our two youngest put down before leaving. It would be more merciful than having them adjust to new homes where they might not be treated as well.

No, I can’t do that. I won’t.
Pick two, pay someone to stick a needle in them, and kill them. When they’re old and sick, in constant misery and not getting any better, sure, but otherwise? Fuck me for even considering it.

The more I think about it (and I really should stop; here comes the nausea again), the more I realize there are all of two solutions to the problem: one is to acquire funds sufficient to having my vehicles shipped, and fly my family and cats out to the house and property I bought in advance of the move. If I could sell THE SAGA OF THE DEAD SILENCER to Hollywood—or sell a hundred thousand books or more, either way is fine—my problems would be over.

The other solution is to do nothing and sit here until I feel like I’m ready to deal with the stresses of staging and selling the house and arranging the move. I don’t have that much longer to live, and neither do my contemporaries back home in Carolina, so that’s not an option.

I will take it easy for the time being, though. I’ve got a little more energy today, good for some endorphin-generating exercise. I’ll get this post up. That’s something.

Oh, and to wrap this up on a positive note, by way of circling back to the Tommy quote at the top of the post, there has been a very good upside to my medical miseries, psychosomatic and otherwise: my rewrite of Bleeding Kansas is worthy of the Ultimate Edition sobriquet. I’ve been shy about going into Grace Among the Dead for some reason, but I’ve torn into The Wrong Kind of Dead with a vengeance, tearing out excess verbiage and subplots and tying up loose ends in the sprawling, action-packed narrative.

Being tired and miserable brings out the Maxwell Perkins-level editorial superpowers in me. I’m in no mood to take anyone’s shit, least of all my own. I’m proud to say I put my sickness to work here, in every sense of the word “sick.”

Speaking of sick, here’s a link to my zombie fiction excerpts. If they can talk 50,000 people into buying a copy each of Bleeding Kansas and Grace Among the Dead...hey, a fella can dream. Meanwhile, here’s a sweet cat photo. Sick, well, or in-between, I’ve got to get back to work.
Otis and Puff THINK OF THE KITTEHS! Buy my books so I can fly them home with me! Two days driving while sedated won’t be good for them.